More than a year ago, Nissan introduced an updated version of the Qashqai and promised an e-POWER version to come. Well, today is that day, and the brand showed us a new way of making a hybrid vehicle. Well, not new, since this idea dates back to 2011 and comes from Fisker Karma. The point is that e-POWER technology is the solution to the stress caused by the autonomy of electric cars and without giving up gasoline.
A hybrid of another species
More than a year ago we explained that the Nissan Qashqai would come with e-POWER technology, but we couldn’t say much about this technology. Now that we know when it will be available, we know more about what it is. While all new Qashqai are now hybrids, only e-POWER removes any connection between the petrol engine and the wheels. The thermal mechanics is a 3-cylinder, 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and generates 156 HP. This engine features variable compression technology ranging from 8:1 to 14:1 and is used according to power demand.
The gasoline engine does not send power to the wheels, it is only used to charge the battery or send power directly to the electric motor. The power demand depends on this. When the battery is well charged and the power requirement is not high, the compression ratio is high to lower emissions. When the power demand is higher, the compression ratio is lower to generate more power. Either way, the engine is always kept spinning in an optimal rev range, further lowering fuel consumption.
The advantages of this configuration
The motor that moves the wheels is an electric unit that generates 188 HP and 330 Nm of torque and is located on the front axle. With so much torque, the acceleration of the Nissan Qashqai e-POWER is forceful and instant, as in any electric car. When stepping on the accelerator fully, the autonomy is not punished much, because in any case the thermal engine always charges the battery. This hybrid doesn’t plug in, it just tanks, keeping that time-saving advantage. In addition, the gasoline engine has less wear, as it requires less effort when moving the car.
The last detail is the feeling and Nissan thought of that too. When accelerating, we are already used to the engine helping the sensation of speed, by sounding and vibrating more. In theory, this hybrid does not need to rev the heat engine more than necessary, since it is always charging the battery at the same RPM regardless of speed. The problem is that this generates an unpleasant sensory disconnection, as happened in the first cars with a CVT box without simulated gears.
To solve this discomfort, they created the Linear Tune function or linear tone. This function raises the engine revolutions as the speed increases. This does not bring any technical advantage, but it does make the Qashqai e-POWER more comfortable to drive. Without knowing it, perhaps Nissan has just revolutionized the issue of sustainable mobility. This configuration maintains the comforts of a gasoline vehicle with the benefits of an electric one. It only remains to add synthetic fuels or hydrogen engines to the mix and this may be the dominant configuration of the future. The Nissan Qashqai e-POWER will be available from the second half of this year only in Europe.